Tue, Dec 21, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Perpignan leave it late to share spoils with English rivals

AFP, PARIS

A late penalty from Nicolas Laharrague earned 14-man Perpignan a deserved 22-22 draw with two-time European Cup winners Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Laharrague scored 17 of his side’s points with the last penalty coming with just over a minute to go and despite the French team having been reduced to 14 men when Rimas Alvarez Kairelis was yellow-carded in the 73rd minute.

It also saw the Samoan Tuilagi brothers end with honors even with Alesana scoring a try for the Tigers while Henry — a former Leicester player — played an influential role for the visitors before going off in the second-half.

Leicester scored the first try to give themselves a bit of breathing space when they were locked at 6-6 after half an hour.

Geordan Murphy made an incisive break through the middle but was stopped short of the line. However, once the ball came back Alesana Tuilagi bulldozed his way over to touch down and Billy Twelvetrees — who had kicked two penalties — converted.

However, Laharrague landed his third penalty on the stroke of half-time to leave the hosts with just a four-point lead at the break.

The visitors struck first in the second-half to move in front with scrum-half David Mele just touching down in the corner — Laharrague kicked a brilliant conversion to make it 16-13.

However, another break by Murphy saw the Tigers go deep into Perpignan territory and an infringement by the French side led to Twelvetrees kicking a penalty to bring the sides level.

Twelvetrees put the hosts ahead in the 56th minute with another fine penalty after an infringement by the French — but Laharrague leveled the game again at 19-19 with a long range penalty just after the hour mark.

Leicester went back in front in the thrilling ding dong clash as Twelvetrees converted another penalty with just under 15 minutes remaining.

He blotted his copybook 10 minutes from time, though, when he missed a golden chance to put the hosts six points ahead, slicing a penalty and missing another when Kairelis was sin-binned.

The Tigers looked to have the points sewn up but Laharrague slotted over the late penalty to grab a share of the spoils.

Northampton looked set for defeat against the Cardiff Blues until the Blues’ Xavier Rush was red carded and Calum Clark steamed in for a match winning try.

Earlier, Wasps produced a sparkling second-half display to rout Welsh outfit the Dragons 37-10.

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